Here, in Yorkshire, we are incredibly lucky to live a mere couple of miles away from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The park is free to enter, although paying the astronomical car parking fees always make us wonder about the venue’s interpretation of ‘free’!
We always make a point of visiting this time of year. I love the changing colours in the trees and it was a beautiful Autumn day once the mist had lifted, last Sunday.
The ‘sculpture’ is laid out both in the park and within several purpose built galleries. Most pieces come and go, providing a surprise at the turn of a corner on a usual route. The odd piece is more semi permanent. The park is famous for it’s Henry Moores but these often come and go as pieces are lent to other exhibitions.
The exhibition in the main covered gallery changes every year.
Sometimes we struggle to come away with what the artist was trying to convey but other years have resulted in repeat visits to the same exhibition.
This exhibition is one of the latter ones.
Both inside and out of the long grass covered gallery
we were struck by the solid timber constructions of Ursula von Rydingsvard; a lady previously unknown to me.
We learnt that Ursula von Rydingsvard was born in Deensen, Lower Saxony, then Nazi Germany, and is a sculptor who has been working in Brooklyn, New York for the past 30 years. She is best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from the cedar beams which she painstakingly cuts, assembles, and laminates, finally rubbing powdered graphite into the work’s textured, faceted surfaces.
Von Rydingsvard’s early years were directly affected by the upheaval of World War II. Born in Nazi Germany in 1942 to a Ukrainian father, conscripted for forced labour in that country, and a Polish mother, her family were among the dispossessed that, after the war, were forced to move from one refugee camp for displaced Poles to another, eventually settling in the United States in 1950.
There might be some parallels to be drawn between with her work of sculpted cedar planks and the fact that she grew up a displaced person, in cold barracks built of similar wooden rough sawn timbers.
As with much art of the more recent decades we still struggled to interpret the pieces but they were very calming to look at and share the huge white spaces of the gallery with.
A video screening showed the processes behind the construction of similar timber artwork. It always bemuses me that once some artists reach a certain level of recognition, it is a whole team of people, working under the artist’s instruction, that carry out most of the actual work.
There were other parts of the exhibition which included her experimental work in weaving and knitting sheep’s guts and the like. Not as much to my liking!
An item that did make me giggle was a small blanket hanging on the wall. It was a piece of simple knitting her mother had made from all the little pieces of wool and yarn she had picked up and accumulated. I wonder any of our works will hang in the galleries of our children’s exhibitions in years to come!!
Love, Lucie xx